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Acacia suaveolens

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Acacia suaveolens (Sm.) Willd., Sp. Pl. 4th edn, 4: 1050 (1806)

Sweet Wattle , Sweet-scented Wattle

Slender, sparingly branched shrub usually 1–3 m high. Branchlets acutely angled to flat, sometimes pruinose, glabrous. Phyllodes ascending to erect, narrowly linear to linear-oblanceolate or very narrowly elliptic, frequently shallowly incurved, mostly 7–12 cm long and 3–8 mm wide, l:w = 12–25, narrowed at base, mucronate, thin to moderately coriaceous, glabrous; midrib prominent; lateral nerves absent or obscure; glands not prominent, 0–2 mm above pulvinus, normally also at base of mucro. Inflorescences 6–12-headed racemes; raceme axes 1–2.5 cm long, enclosed when young by conspicuous, imbricate bracts; peduncles 3–5 mm long, to 10 mm in fruit, slender, glabrous; heads globular, 3–10-flowered, cream to lemon yellow; bracteoles absent. Flowers 5-merous; sepals free, narrowly linear. Pods oblong, 2–5 cm long, 1–2 cm wide, thinly coriaceous-crustaceous, purplish brown to blue-black, pruinose, glabrous. Seeds transverse, elliptic, 6–7 mm long, shiny, black; aril brown-black.

Occurs in coastal and near-coastal areas from Bustard Bay area, Qld., S through N.S.W. to Cape Otway, Vic., also Casterton to near Penola, S.A., Tas., and some Bass Strait islands. Grows in sand or on sandstone, usually in heath or woodland. The combined distributions of A. suaveolens and A. subcaerulea resembles that of A. myrtifolia .

Two variants are recorded for N.S.W. by D.A.Morrison et al. , Victorian Naturalist 100: 141 (1983) and T.D.Auld & D.A.Morrison, Austral. J. Bot. 40: 1–11 (1992), namely, a prostrate variant from around Sydney and a very narrow phyllode variant in the Myall Lakes area. A review of the biology of A. suaveolens is given in D.A.Morrison, Proc. Linn. Soc. New South Wales 109: 271–292 (1987). An analysis of the patterns of variation in A. suaveolens is given in D.A.Morrison & A.J.Rupp, Austral. Syst. Bot . 8: 1013-1027 (1995). In this work four new subspecies are described, namely, subsp. myallensis (N.S.W.), subsp. prostrata (N.S.W. & Tas.), subsp. montana (N.S.W.) and subsp. grampianensis (Vic.), however, these names have not been adopted here.

Closely allied to A. subcaerulea from W.A. Similar to A. iteaphylla which has a different habit, branchlets angled only at the extremities, heads with more flowers, longer peduncles, longer, normally narrower pods and longitudinal seeds.

Type of accepted name

Cultivated at Sion Gardens, seed from New South Wales, flowered 1790, T.Hoy ; n.v.


Mimosa suaveolens Sm., Trans. Linn. Soc. London 1: 253 (1791); M. ambigua Salisb., Prodr. Stirp. Chap. Allerton 325 (1796), nom. illeg. ; Phyllodoce suaveolens (Sm.) Link, Handbuch 2: 133 (1831); Hecatandra suaveolens (Sm.) Raf., Sylva Tellur. 120 (1838). Type: as for accepted name.

Mimosa obliqua Lam., J. Hist. Nat. 1: 89, t. 5 (1792), nec . Wendl. (1798) non Pers. (1806). Type: not designated; n.v.

Mimosa angustifolia Jacq., Pl. Hort. Schoenbr. 3: 74, t. 391 (1798); Acacia odorata var. angustifolia (Jacq.) Desv., J. Bot. Appl. 3: 67 (1814), nom. inval. (cf. Art. 43, IBCN, 1988); A. angustifolia (Jacq.) H.L.Wendl., Comm. Acac. Aphyll. 5, 34 (1820); Phyllodoce angustifolia (Jacq.) Link, Handbuch 2: 133 (1831). Type: cultivated, hort. bot. Schoenbrunn, material originating from Port Jackson [Sydney], N.S.W.; holo: W.

Acacia suaveolens var. platycarpa DC., Prodr . 2: 453 (1825). Type: cultivated, hort. bot. Salisbury; syn: G-DC; cultivated, hort. bot. Boursault, 1 July 1818; syn: G-DC: specimen annotated ‘suaveolens platyptera DC’ by Candolle.


E.R.Rotheram et al. , Fl. & Pl. New South Wales & S Queensland 34 (1975); L.F.Costermans, Native Trees & Shrubs SE Australia 320 (1981); T.Tame, Acacias SE Australia 145, fig. 156, pl. 156 (1992); D.J.E.Whibley & D.E.Symon, Acacias S. Australia 2nd edn, 119 & 121 (1992).

Representative collections

S.A.: Glencoe, c. 15 km NNW of Mt Gambier, R.Bates 1514 (AD). Qld: Wide Bay Military Training Area, c. 9 km NNE of Camp Kerr, L.G.Adams 3502 (BRI). N.S.W.: Pacific Hwy, 0.8 km E of Kariong, R.Coveny 4878 (PERTH). Vic.: c. 10 km by road NE of Rosebud, Port Phillip Bay, B.R.Maslin 5472 (PERTH). Tas.: Circular Head, 17 Aug. 1837 and 3 Jan. 1841, R.Gunn 173/1842 (both PERTH).


WATTLE Acacias of Australia CD-ROM graphic

The information presented here originally appeared on the WATTLE CD-ROM which was jointly published by the Australian Biological Resources Study, Canberra, and the Department of Parks and Wildlife, Perth; it was produced by CSIRO Publishing from where it is available for purchase. The WATTLE custodians are thanked for allowing us to post this information here.

Page last updated: Thursday 22 June 2023